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Fresh bread and brown paper

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Two of my favourite things.

I’m so glad my colleague friend took me to Abhi’s Bakery in Fremantle. The shop is filled with the most delicious aroma of homemade bread and pastries!

I had a bit of trouble deciding on what to buy so I bought a loaf of Wholemeal Five Seed; which is packed with sunflower seed, kibbled rye, linseed, crushed soy and crushed wheat. I also bought an orange poppy seed gluten-free cake and a polenta and sultana loaf (which did not survive the trip home for photo taking).


Later on in the day, I wrapped up some orders for my lovely customers.

These orders are extra special because all proceeds from the sale will be donated to my friend Julie-Ann Twigg who was involved in a horrific plane crash. Julie-Ann is currently in intensive care and sadly her daughter Jacinda and the pilot did not survive.


I’m acquainted with Julie-Ann through Etsy and blogging, and she has always been very supportive of my art and business. When I first heard the news, it affected me deeply and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Luckily I am comforted by those who know Julie-Ann and everyone has rallied on in support by organising a treasury sale.

You can also donate to the Twigg Family Appeal at any National Australia Bank branch or see the Hindmarsh Shire website for direct deposit details.

Please support generously and keep Julie’s family and the pilot’s family in your thoughts and prayers. Love and blessings to you all. xoxo

Happy Weekender

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

A few of my favourite things…

Gnome in a pot

Rainbow rag rug

Baked claypot chicken rice

A smiley Babushka lamp

What are you loving this weekend?

Dhal and baked Naan

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

I’ve discovered that my husband has a hidden talent in the kitchen! He has strong hands. Good, strong, baker hands! It all started with the pancake batter, I noticed that he could whisk it quite fast into a smooth batter.

So I put him onto the task of making simple flat bread. In the past whenever we made bread, I would either under-knead or over-knead the dough and the bread would end up a little too tough and chewy. But my husband, seems to have mastered the technique of kneading the dough in a quick, strong and efficient manner.


Last night we cooked dhal for dinner and rich made some naan bread for dipping. He made the bread all by himself. This is coming from my klutz of a husband who can’t tell the difference between light soy sauce and dark soy sauce, or sesame oil and olive oil, or name all the herbs correctly in our garden.


But as you can see, bless him…he makes good bread! It was baked golden brown on the outside and when you pulled it apart, it was all soft, light and fluffy in the inside!

Richard’s homemade Naan

Makes about 6-8 medium naan
300g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
4 tbsp milk
4 tbsp plain yogurt
15g butter

- Place a baking sheet on the tray and preheat the oven to its highest setting.
- Mix together all of the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle and add wet ingredients with 85-90ml of water. Combine by hand and knead quickly until smooth.
- Pinch off small handful of dough and roll into a teardrop shape. Place onto the hot baking sheet and cook for two to four minutes until spots of brown appear on the surface.
- Brush the surface with butter and serve hot.

Chicken and fresh mint rice paper roll

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

There is little sign of Autumn in Perth as it’s still unbelievably hot over here! On hot days I’m always clueless on what to make for dinner, though we try to cook something light and simple.

A few days ago, I sampled some rice paper rolls from a local cafe and tried not to balk at the price. If my mother had been there she would have been adamant at making our own rolls instead.

So I did that today…mostly with ingredients from the fridge.


Ingredients for filling:
1 cup of cooked shredded chicken
1/2 cup of thinly sliced capsicum
A handful of fresh mint leaves
A handful of fresh coriander
2 tablespoon of fish sauce
2 tablespoon of lime juice

A packet of Vietnamese rice paper rolls.

Other optional ingredients that you can use or add:
Thinly sliced carrots, chinese cabbage, beansprouts, tofu, prawns, chopped nuts or vermicelli noodles to fill up your rolls.


Mix the ingredients well.


Fill a tray or shallow pan with warm water. You don’t have to use too much water, just enough to submerge the rice sheets.

Place one rice sheet in the water for 20 seconds, then gently lift the sheet out and place onto a tea towel. The tea towel helps to absorb the extra moisture. Be careful not to oversoak your rice sheet in the water for too long, as it will get soggy and difficult to handle.


Top your ingredients onto the rice sheet. Make sure the tea towel is laid on a flat surface which helps with rolling your rolls.


Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

Tea drinking…and reflecting

Friday, March 11th, 2011

We drink a lot of tea at home: Green tea, Chinese tea, Black tea…even Bubble tea! We buy them in loose leaves so that we can brew it in our teapot.

Today while tea shopping, I saw this tiffin carrier at an Antique shop and thought, ‘I could use this to keep our tea stash!’


It’s a lovely piece with cranes and dragons and gold accents around it. Very Chinese. I think even my parents would be pleased with my purchase.


Actually, when growing up I used to cringe at my parent’s taste for oriental furnishing. I never fully appreciated the intricate handiwork and carvings. I kept thinking everything looked so Chinese! This is me…circa 80′s…I am crawling around my house which looks like a Chinese museum.


But how times have changed now. I find that as I grow older each year, I’ve learned to embrace my roots…which has made me a little more sentimental and nostalgic about my past. I also find myself appreciating and liking the same kind of decor or artifacts that my parents like! Though if I were to decorate my home, I think it would be a mixture of the current things that I love and also the Chinese soul in me.

flower tea ball

And lastly…as we’re on the topic of tea (which was supposed to be a short post!). If you like tea, I’d recommend that you try the blooming tea. They are tea leaves, flattened and shaped into a ball. When you drop the ball in the teapot, it blooms into a flower! A very pretty sight.

Bubur Cha-Cha

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

bubur chacha1

I made Bubur Cha-Cha for a friend’s party. It’s a traditional Malaysian dessert made of various sweet potatoes, yam and taro, cooked in creamy coconut milk and brown sugar. Bubur means porridge and Cha-Cha (sometimes pronounced as Che-Che in Penang, Northern Malaysia) means abundance.

I have many fond memories eating this dessert in my parents kitchen…and you may have probably seen this dish cooked a few times on Masterchef, no doubt by the Malaysian contestants.

bubur chacha4

bubur chacha2

1 medium size gold/yellow sweet potato (cut into cubes)
1 medium size purple yam (cut into cubes)
1 medium size taro (cut into cubes)
8 cups of water
1/2 cup tapioca pearls (sago)
3 stalks of screwpine leaves (pandan leaves)
400 ml coconut milk
Sugar to taste
Rock salt

bubur chacha3

1. Boil the yam and taro in water with the screwpine leaves.
2. Once the yam and taro are slightly soft, add in the sweet potatoes and tapioca pearls. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium.
3. The sweet potatoes usually cooks fast, so to prevent it from being too mushy, I usually scoop them out into a bowl and set it aside. You’ll also notice that the tapioca pearls will start turning translucent whilst cooking.
4. Add in sugar to taste. I used about 3 and a half blocks of brown sugar pieces.
5. Add in coconut milk and a pinch of rock salt. Bring to a boil.
6. Add the sweet potatoes back into the pot and remove the screwpine leaves.

This dessert can be served hot or cold. I usually like to eat it warm when it’s freshly cooked. And then eat it chilled the next day!

Bunny and wontons

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Happy bunny year! I hope Mr bunny brings you lots of good fortune and good health!

We made wontons tonight…because what’s New Year without them?


Homemade dumplings

A packet of wonton skins (you can get them at the oriental shop)

For the filling:
Minced pork
Minced prawn (optional)
Chopped spring onion
Chopped chives
Chopped coriander
Chopped onions
Salt and pepper to taste
Sesame oil
Corn flour


Mix all of the ingredients well.


Spoon a tiny spoonful of the filling onto the skin. Fold in half and dab some water around the edges to seal it. Press gently around the edges.


The wontons can be steamed, deep-fried or served in soup.

Water Lily anyone?

Friday, January 21st, 2011

I’ve been eying Deborah’s creations for the longest time. I thought I would go crazy if I waited any longer to purchase something from her shop.

I decided to get one of her water lily plates so that I could use them for our Lunar New Year dinner.

water lily plate2

The plates arrived this week…and let’s just say, I am pretty smitten by its beauty.

water lily plate

Slow-cooked lamb with thyme and rosemary

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

My brother-in-law gave us a slow cooker, and I used it for the first time.

lamb shanks1

Slow-cooked lamb with thyme and rosemary

2 lamb shanks (or more), marinated in salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper
Chopped carrots
Chopped celery
Chopped onions
Chopped tomatoes
3 cups of beef stock
Sprigs of thyme and rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: I didn’t add this but you can also throw in potatoes. If you want it tomatoey in flavour, just add some tomato paste.

6 hours later…

lamb shanks3

We ate our lamb with Kutjera Sauce on the side. It’s a lovely blend of bush sauce made from desert raisins. You can check out the whole range of native bush food, made and grown by the Aboriginal communities here. I’d totally recommend this sauce!

Crabs, christmas, merriness

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Rich asked, “Can you make crabs? I’d like to eat crabs for Christmas this year”
“What kind?” I asked him.
“Chili crabs would be nice”


And so tonight I made him sweet chili crabs, baked fish in lime and turmeric, served with nasi kuning (yellow rice).



While eating this meal, I remembered some of my favourite crab eating moments.

Like when my dad took us to eat crabs in Melaka. We ordered black pepper crabs and downed Tiger beer in the balmy night. We talked, ate and drank. It was a good night. Then earlier this year, we had crabs served at our wedding and we took a platter home. Later our friends came over our place and we sat around the dining table, cracking claws with the hammer and tucking into the soft flesh. It was such a fun and messy affair even though the smell lingered on for days!

What is it about eating crabs that makes it such a merry and sociable event? Maybe it’s the part where we’re all sharing the hammer and going crazy with it. Or maybe it’s the act of eating with our hands with such gusto.

Well I hope your Christmas dinner was as merry as mine:) Have a good one! xoxo

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